As with any hospital or healthcare facility with expensive equipment, often on wheels to be easily moved around, it is easy for equipment to be misplaced at the Ohio State University Medical Center, which covers 5 million square feet. That is why, as reported this week by the Columbus Dispatch, the enterprise is spending about $1 million on a software system and electronic tags that will use the university’s Wi-Fi network to keep track of thousands of pieces of equipment as well as patients and staff members. Tags the size of a matchbox will be attached to equipment and emit a signal picked up on the Wi-Fi network. The signal will show up on a floor-plan map and, through an algorithm using Wi-Fi routers, the object will be located within a few feet. From a nurse’s station or elsewhere, staffers can look up the equipment or tag number of a patient monitor or bed on a computer and find it quickly. Ohio State plans to put tags, now priced at about $100 each, on 10,000 to 15,000 pieces of equipment over the next two years.
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